Bleeding Hearts

In Ian Rankin’s Bleeding Hearts, contract killer Michael Weston (a.k.a. the Demolition Man) guns down a prominent London journalist, then discovers he’s been set up. Accompanied by a beautiful woman (is there a decent thriller without one?), he pursues his shadowy nemesis from the Scottish countryside to New York City, rural Texas, and a Seattle-area cult headquarters, while eluding both the cops and Leo Hoffer, a ruthless PI. This brisk novel was first published in the U.K. in 1994; while Rankin has gone on to write better books — including most of the Inspector Rebus whodunits, and the sensational Witch Hunt — even a second-tier Rankin thriller will keep you flipping pages into the night.

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